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God commands Balaam not to go CHAP. XXII. with the messengers of Balak.
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are blessed. 7 And the elders of Moab and the elders of 13 And Balaam rose up in the morning, and Midian departed with the rewards of divina- said unto the princes of Balak, Get you into tion in their hand; and they came unto Balaam, your land : for the Lord refuseth to give me and spake unto him the words of Balak. leave to go with you.
8 And he said unto them, * Lodge here this 14 And the princes of Moab rose up, and night, and I will bring you word again, as the they went unto Balak, and said, Balaam reLORD shall speak unto me: and the princes fuseth to come with us. of Moab abode with Balaam.
15 And Balak sent yet again princes, more, 9 ? And God came unto Balaam, and sạid, and more honourable than they. What men are these with thee?
16 And they came to Balaam, and said to 10 And Balaam said unto God, Balak the "him, 'Thus saith Balak the son of Zippor, . Let son of Zippor, king of Moab, hath sent unto nothing, I pray thee, hinder thee from coming me, saying,
unto me : 11 Behold, there is a people come out of 17 For I will promote thee unto very great Egypt, which covereth the face of the earth : honour, and I will do whatsoever thou sayest come now, curse me them; 'peradventure - I unto me: P come therefore, I pray thee, curse shall be able to overcome them, and drive me this people. thein out.
18 And Balaam answered and said unto the 12 And God said unto. Balaam, Thou shalt servants of Balak, 4. If Balak would give me '1 Sam. ix. 7, 8.- Ver. 19.— Gen. xx. 3, ver. 20. Heb. - Chap. xxiii. 20; Rom. xi. 29. —Heb. be not thou letted from, I shall prevail in fighting against him.
&c. --- Ver. 6. -9 Chap. xxiv. 13. Excessere omnes, adytis arisque relictis, the incantation. The drugs, &c., used on such occaDii, quibus imperium hoc steterat. sions were often very expensive. It appears
that Æn., lib. i., ver. 351. - Balaam was very covetous, and that he loved the “ All the gods, by whose assistance the empire had wages of unrighteousness, and probably lived by it; hitherto been preserved, forsook their altars and their see 3 Pet. ii. 15.. temples.” And it was on this account that the Greeks Verse 8. I will bring you word again, as the Lord employed all their artifice to steal away the Palladium, shall speak] So it appears he knew the true God, and on which they believe the safety of Troy depended.
had been in the habit of consulting him, and receiving Tacitus observes that when Suetonius Paulinus oracles from his mouth. prepared his army to cross over into Mona, (Anglesea,)
Verse 12. Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt where the Britons and Druids made their last stand, not curse the people) That is, Thou shalt not go with the priestesses, with dishevelled hair, white vestments, them to curse the people. With them he might go, and torches in their hands, ran about like furies, de- as we find hre afterwards did by God's own command, voting their enemies to destruction ; and he farther but not to curse the people; this was wholly forbidden. adds that the sight, the attitude, and horrible impre- Probably the command, Thou shalt not go, refers cations of these priestesses had such effect on the i here to that time, viz., the first invitation : and in this Roman soldiers, that for a while they stood still and sense it was most punctually obeyed by Balaam; see suffered themselves to be pierced with the darts of the ver. 13. Britons, without making any resistance. Tacit. Ann., Verse 14. Balaam refuseth lo come with us.) “ Ob1. xiv., c. 29. Many accounts are related in the serve,” says Mr. Ainsworth, “Satan's practice against Hindoo Pooran of kings employing sages to curse God's word, seeking to lessen the same, and that from their enemies when too powerful for them.-Ward's hand to hand, till he bring it to naught. Balaam told Customs.
the princes less than God told him, and they relate to The Jews also had a most horrible form of execra- Balak less than Balaam told them; so that when the tion, as may be seen in Buxtorf's Talmudical Lexicon answer came to the king of Moab, it was not the word
. These observations and autho. of God, but the word of man ; it was simply, Balaam rities, drawn out in so much detail, are necessary to refuseth to come, without ever intimating that God cast light on the strange and curious history related had forbidden him." But in this Balaam is not to in this and the two following chapters.
blame; he told the messengers in the most positive Verse 7. The rewards of divination] Whoever manner, Jehovah refuseth to give me leave to go with went to consult a prophet took with him a present, as you, ver. 13; and more explicit he could not be. it was on such gratuitous offerings the prophets lived ; Verse 18. I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord but here more than a mere present is intended, per- my God] Balaam knew God too well to suppose he haps every thing necessary to provide materials for I could reverse any of his purposes ; and he respected Vol. I. ( 45 )
.חרם under the word
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Balaam is met by an angel,
and is reproved by his ass. his house full of silver and gold, path of the vineyards, a wall 4. M. 2553. r I cannot go beyond the word of being on this side, and a wall on the Lord my God, to do less that side.
25 And when the ass saw the angel of the 19 Now therefore, I pray you, starry ye LORD, she thrust herself unto the wall, and also here this night, that I may know what crushed Balaam's foot against the wall : and the Lord will say unto me more.
he smote her again. 20'+ And God came unto Balaam ať night, 26 And the angel of the LORD went further, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, and stood in a narrow place, where was no rise up, and go with them; but yet the word way to turn either to the right hand or to the left.
which I shall say unto thee
, that shalt thou.do. 27 And when the ass saw the angel of the
21 And Balaam rose up in the morning, and LORD, she fell down under Balaam: and Basaddled his ass, and went with the princes of laam's anger was kindled, and he smote the Moab.
ass with a staff. 22 And God's anger was kindled because he 28 And the LORD * opened the mouth of the went: and the angel of the LORD stood in ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I the way for an adversary against him. Now done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these he was riding upon his ass, and his two ser- three times ? vants were with him.
29 And Balaam said unto the ass, Because 23 And " the ass saw the angel of the LORD thou hast mocked me : I would there were a standing in the way, and his sword drawn in, sword in mine hand, ! for now would I kill thee. his hand : and the ass turned aside out of the 30 ? And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not way, and went into the field: and Balaam I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden smote the ass, to turn her into the
bever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever 24 But the angel of the LORD- stood in a wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay.
r1 Kings xxii. 14; 2 Chron. xviii. 13- Ver. 8.-- Ver.,9. Jude 11. - 2 Peter ii. 16. Prov. xii. 10.-22 Peter ii. u Verse 35; chapter xxiii. 12,26 ; xxiv. 13.- - Exodus iv. 24. 16. Heb. who hast ridden upon me. -b Or, ever since thout w See 2 Kings vi. 17; Dan. x. 7; Acts xxii. 9;. 2 Peter ii. 16; wast, &e.
him too much to attempt to do any thing without his and in this, Mr. Shuckford supposes, his iniquity chiefly permission. Though he was covetous, yet he dared lay.--Conner., vol. iii., p. 115. How many are renot, even when strongly tempted both by riches and strained from sinning, merely through the fear of God! honours, to go contrary to the command of his God. They would gladly do the evil, but it is forbidden on Many make all the professions of Balaam, without awful penalties; they wish the thing were not prohijustifying them by their conduct. They pretend,” bited, for they have a strong desire to do it. says one, they would not do any thing against the Verse 23. And the ass savo the angel] When God word of God for a house full of gold, and yet will do granted visions, those alone who were particularly init for a handful!"
terested saw them, while others in the same company Verse 19. What the Lord will say 'untó me more.] saw. nothing ; see Dan. x. 7; Acts ix. 7. He did not know, but God 'might make a farther dis- Verse 26. And the angel-stood in a narro
row place) 'covery of his will to him, and therefore he might very In this carriage of the angel, says Mr. Ainsworth, the innocently seek farther information.
Lord shows us the proceedings of his judgments Verse 20. If the men come-go with them This against sinners: First, he mildly shakes his rod at is a confirmation of what was observed on the twelfth them, but lets them go untouched. Secondly, he verse ; though we find his going was marked with the comes nearer, and touches them with an easy correcDivine displeasure, because he wished, for the sake of tion, as it were wringing their foot against the wall. the honours and rewards, to fulfil as far as possible the Thirdly, when all this is ineffectual, he brings them will of the king of Moab. Mr. Shuckford observes into such straits, that they can neither turn to the right that the pronoun 810 hu is sometimes used to denote hand nor to the left, but must fall before his judgments, a person's doing a thing out of his own head, without if they do not fully turn to him. regard to the directions of another: Thus in the case Verse 28. The Lord opened the mouth of the ass) of Balaam, when God had allowed him to go with the And where is the wonder of all this? : If the ass had messengers of Balak, if they came in the morning to opened her own mouth, and reproved the rash prophet, call him ; because he was more hasty than he ought we might well be astonished; but when God opens the to have been, and went to them instead of staying till mouth, an ass can speak as well as a man. It is worthey should come to him, it was said of him, not 7507 3 thy of remark here, that Balaam testifies no surprise ki halach, that he went, but sin 75177 'ki holech hu, at this miracle, because he saw it was the Lord's doing. i. e., he went of his own head--without being called ; l of animate and inanimate things receiving for a short 690
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Balaam is permitted to proceed. CHAP. XXIII.
Balak goes out to meet him 31 Then the LORD opened i 36 And when Balak heard that the
eyes of Balaam, and he saw Balaam was come, ' he went out
the angel of the LORD standing to meet him unto a city of Moab, in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand : " which is in the border of Arnon, which is and he d bowed down his head, and e fell flat in the utmost coast. on his face.
37 And Balak said unto Balaam, Did. I. 32 And the angel of the LORD said unto him, not earnestly send unto thee to call thee? Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these wherefore camest thou not unto me ? am three times? behold, I went out * to withstand I not able indeed to promote thee to thee, because thy way is 8 perverse before me: honour ?
33 And the ass saw me, and turned from 38 And Balaam said 'unto. Balak, Lo, I am me these three times : unless she had turned come unto thee : have I now any power at all from me, surely now also I had slain thee, to say any thing ? ! the word that God putteth and saved her alive.
in my mouth, that shall I speak. 34 And Balaam said unto the angel of the 39 And Balaam went with Balak, and they Lord, h I have sinned ; for I knew not that thou came unto p Kirjath-huzoth. stoodest in the way against me: now therefore, 40 And Balak offered oxen and sheep, and if it i displease thee, I will get me back again. sent to Balaam, and to the princes that were
35. And the angel of the Lord said unto. Ba- with him. laam, Go with the men : k but only the word 41 And it came to pass on the morrow, that that I shall speak unto thee, that thou shalt Balak took Balaam, and brought him up into speak. So Balaam went with the princes of the a high places of Baal, that thence he might Balak.
see the utmost part of the people.
See Gen. xxi. 19; 2 Kings vi. 17; Luke xxiv. 16, 31. i Heb. be evil in thine eyes.
uk Verse 20. Gen. xiv. 17. d Exod. xxxiv. 8.- Le Or, bowed himself- - Heb. to be an ad- m Chap xxi. 13. -- Ver. 17; chap. xxiv. 11.- Chap. xxiii. versary into thee.
-& 2 Pet. i. 14, 15. ch 1 Sam. xv. 24, 30; 26; xxiv. 13; 1 Kings xxii. 14; 2 Chron. xviii. 13:xxvi. 21 ; 2 Sam. xii. 13; Job xxxiv. 31, 32.
city of streets. -9 Chap: xxiii. 2, 14, 30; Deut. xii. 2.
time the gift of speech, the heathen mythology fur- Verse 38. The word that God putteth in my mouth, nishes many fictitious examples, with which I do ņot that shall I speak.) Here was a noble resolution, and deem it proper to occupy the reader's time.
he was certainly faithful to it: though he wished to Verse 33. Surely now also I had slain thee) How please. the king, and get wealth and honour, yet he often are the meanest animals, and the most trivial oe- would not displease God to realize even these bright currences, instruments of the preservation of our lives, prospects. Many who slander this poor semi-antinoand of the salvation of our souls !. The messenger of mian prophet, have not half his piety. justice would have killed Balaam, had not the mercy Verse 40. And Balak offered oxen, fc.] This was of God prevented the ass from proceeding.
to gain the favour of his gods, and perhaps to propiVerse 34. If it displease thee, I will get me back tiate Jehovah, that the end for which he had sent for again.} Here is a proof, that though he loved the Balaam might be accomplished. wages of unrighteousness, yet he still feared God; Verse 41. That—he might see the utmost part of and he is now willing to drop the enterprise if God the people.) As he thought Balaam must have them be displeased with his proceeding. The piety of many all in his eye when he pronounced his curse, lest it called Christians does not extend thus far; they see might not extend to those who were not in sight. that the thing displeases God, and yet they proceed. On this account he took him up into the high places Reader, is this thy case ?
Being arrived at the high places of Baal, (chap. xxii. 41,) Balaam orders Balak to build seven altars, and
prepare oxen and rams for sacrifice, 1, 2. Balaam inquires of the Lord, receives an answer, with which he returns to Balak, 3-10. Balak, finding that this was a prediction of the prosperity of the Israelites, is greatly troubled, 11. Balaam excuses himself, 12. He brings him to another place, where he might see only a part of Israel, and repeats his sacrifices, 13, 14. Balaam again consults the Lord, 15–17. Returns with his answer, and again predicts the glory of Israel, 18–34. Balak is angry, 25; and Balaam again excuses himself. Balak proposes another trial, takes him to another place, and repeats the ame sacrifices, 26-30.
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and prepare me here seven oxen Moab, hath brought me from and seven ms.
Aram, out of the mountains of the east, saying, 2 And Balak did as Balaam had spoken ; Come, curse me Jacob, and come, k defy Israel. and Balak and Balaam offered on every altar 8. ? How shall 1 curse, whom God hath not a bullock and a ram.
cursed ? or how shall I defy, whom the LORD 3 And Balaam said unto Balak, · Stand by hath not defied ? thy burnt-offering, and I will go : peradventure 9 For from the top of the rocks I see him, the Lord will come to meet me : and what- and from the hills I behold him.: lo,
m the soever he showeth me I will tell thee. And people shall dwell alone, and shall not be • he went to a high place.
reckoned among the nations. . . 4 f And God met Balaam: and he said unto 10 • Who can count the dust of Jacob, and him, I have prepared seven altars, and I have the number of the fourth part of Israel ? Let offered upon every altar a bullock and a ram. Pme die ihe death of the righteous, and let
5 And the Lord & put a word in Balaam's my last end be like his ! mouth, and said, Return unto Balak, and thus 11 And Balak said unto Balaam, What hast thou shalt speak.
thou done unto me.? rI took thee to curse 6 And he returned unto him, and, lo, he mine enemies, and, behold, thou hast blessed stood by his burnt sacrifice, he, and all the them altogether. princes of Moab.
12 And he answered and said, Must I not a Ver. 29. Lb Ver. 14, 30. — Ver. 15.- Chap. xxiv. 1. i Chap. xxii. 6, 11, 17. Lk 1 Sam. xvii. 10. [sa. xlvii. 12, • Or, he went solitary.- - Ver. 16.------5 Ver. 16; ch. xxii. 35;| 13. _m Deut. xxxvi. 28.—Exodus xxxiii. 16; Ezra ix 2; Deut. xviii. 18; Jer. i. 9. Ch Ver. 18; chap. xxiv. '3, 15, 23; Eph. ii. 14. Lo Gen. xii. 16; xxii. 17.-—P Heb. my soul, or, Job xxvii. 1; xxix. 1 ; Psa. Ixxviii: 2; Ezek. xvii. 2; Mic. ii. 4; my life. -9 Psa. cxvi. 15.- Chapter xxii. 11, 17; xxiv. 10. Hab. ii. 6.
Chap. xxi. 38.
Verse 8. How shall I curse, whom God hath not Verse 1. Build me here seven altars, fc.) The.cursed ?] It was granted on all hands that no incanoxen and the rams were such as the Mosaic law had tations nor imprecations could avail, unless God conordered to be offered to God in sacrifice; the building curred and ratified them. From God's communication of seven altars was not commanded. Some think that to Balaam he saw that God was determined to bless these seven altars were built to the seven planets: this and defend Israel, and therefore all endeavours to inis most gratuitously said ; of it there is no proof what- jure them must be in vain." ever; it is mere trifling, even with conjecture. As Verse 9. From the top of the rocks I see him] That seven was a number of perfection, Balaam chose it on is, from the high places of Baal where he went, chap. this occasion, because he intended to offer a grand sa- xxii. 41, that he might the more advantageously see crifice, and to offer a bullock and á ram upon each of the whole camp of Israel. the altars ;- the whole to be made a burnt-offering at The people shall dwell alone] They shall ever be the same time. And as he intended to offer seven preserved as a distinct nation. This prophecy has bullocks and seven rams at the same time, it could not been literally fulfilled through a period of 3300 years be conveniently done on one altar, therefore he ordered to the present day. This is truly astonishing. seven to be built. We need go no farther to find out Verse 10. Let me die the death of the righteous) his reasons.
Probably Balaam had some presentiment that he should Verse 3. Stand by thy burnt-offering) We have be taken off by a premature death, and therefore he already seen that blessing and cursing in this way were lodges this petition against it. The death of the considered as religious rites, and therefore must be al- righteous in those times implied being gathered to one's ways preceded by sacrifice. See this exemplified in fathers in a good old age, having seen his children, the case of Isaac, before he blessed Jacob and Esau, and children's children ; and to this, probably, the latGen. xxvii., and the notes there. The venison that ter part of this petition applies : And let my last end was brought to Isaac, of which he did eat, was pro- be like his, (17727 ning inni uthehi acharithi chamohu, perly the preparatory sacrifice.
And let my POSTERITY be like his.) It has been geneVerse 7. And he took up his parable] Son meshalo, rally supposed that Balaam is here praying for a happy see on chap. xxi. 27. All these oracular speeches of death, such as true Christians die who die in the Lord; Balaam are in hemistich metre in the original. They and in this way his words are generally applied; but are highly dignified, and may be considered as imme- I am satisfied this is not their meaning. The prayer, diate poetic productions of the Spirit of God; for it however, understood in the common way, is a good is expressly said, ver. 5, that God put the word in Ba- one, and may be offered to God profitably. A righteous laam's mouth, and that the Spirit of God came upon man is one who is saved from his sins, who is justihim, chap. xxiv. 2.
fied and sanctified through the blood of the covenant,
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prosperity of the Israelites. A. M. 2553. take heed to speak that which the stood by his burnt-offering, and A. M. 2553. An. Exod. Isr. Lord hath put in my mouth? the princes of Moab with him. An. Exod. Isr.
13 And Balak said unto him, .And.Balak said unto him, What Come, I pray thee, with me imto another hath the LORD spoken? place, from whence thou mayest see them : 18 And he took up his parable, and said, thou shalt see but the utmost part of them, Rise
Balak, and hear; hearken unto me, and shałt not see them all : and curse me thou son of Zippor : them from thence.
19. * God is not a man, that he should lie ; 14 And he brought him into the field of neither the son of man, that he should repent: Zophim, to the top of Pisgah," and built hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath seven altars, and offered a bullock and a ram he spoken, and shall he not make it good ? altar.
20 Behold, I have received commandment 15 And he said unto Balak, Stand here by to bless : and he hath blessed ; and I cannot thy burnt-offering, while I meet the LORD reverse it. yonder.
21 He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, 16 And the Lord met Balaam, and put a neither hath he seen perverseress in Israel : word in his mouth, and said, Go again unto a the LORD his God is with him, band the Balak, and say thus.
shout of a king is among them. 17 And when he came to him, behold, he 22 God brought them out of Egypt; he
Or, the hill. Verse 1, 2. — Ver. 5; chapter xxii. 35. y Gen. xii. 2; xxii: 17; Num. xxii. 12. -2 Rom. iv. 7,8. w Judg. ini. 20.- * 1 Sam. xv. 29; Mal. i. 6; Romans xi. 29; a Exod. xii. 21; xxix. 45, 46; xxxiii. 14. - Psa. lxxxix. 15. James i. 17; Tibi, 2.
Chap. xxiv. 8. and who lives, not only an innocent, but also a holy true, as after that time a more unblemished and noble and useful life. He who would die well should live character (Abraham excepted) is not to be found in the well; for a bad death must be the issue of a bad life. page of history, whether sacred or profaue; and for
Verse 13. Thou shall see but the utmost part of his sake, and for the sake of his father Isaac, and his them] Balak thought - that the sight of such an im- grandfather Abraham, God is ever represented as famense camp bad intimidated Balaam, and this he might vouring, blessing, and sparing a rebellious and undegather from what he said in the tenth versė: Who can serving people; see the concluding note, Gen. xlix, count the dust of Jacob, &c.; he thought therefore in this way, I think, this difficult text may be safely that he might get Balaam to curse them in detached understood. parties, till the whole camp should be devoted to de. There is another way in which the words may be struction by successive execrations.
interpreted, which will give a good sense. Verse 17. What hath the Lord spoken?) Balak not only signifies iniquity, but most frequently trouble, himself now understood that Balaam was wholly under labour, distress, and affliction ; and these indeed are the influence of Jehovah, and would say nothing but its ideal meanings, and iniquity is only an acommowhat God commanded him; but not knowing Jehovah dated or metaphorical one, because of the pain, disas Balaam did, he hoped that he might be induced to tress, &c., produced by sin. Sayamal, translated here change his mind, and curse a people whom he had perverseness, occurs often in Scripture, but is never hitherto determined to bless.
translated perverseness except in this place. It signiVerse 19. God is not a man, that he should lie] This fies simply labour, especially that which is of an afseems to be spoken to correct the foregoing supposition flictive or oppressive kind. The words may therefore of Balak that God could change his mind. Even the be considered as implying that God will not suffer the heathen would not allow that their supreme god could people either to be exterminated by the sword, or to be caught in a falsity. Hence Æschylus, in Prometh. be brought under a yoke of slavery. Either of these vinct. 1068:
methods of interpretation gives a good sense, but our Ψευδηγορειν γαρ ουκ επισταται στομα
common version gives none. Το Διον, αλλα παν επος τελει.
Dr. Kennicott contends for the reading of the Sa
maritan, which, instead of wan x5 lo hibbit, he hath not " The mouth of Jove knows not to frame a lie ;
seen, has UIN *5 lo abbit, I do not see, I do not discover But every word finds full accomplishment.”
any thing among them on which I could ground my Verse 21. He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, curse. But the sense above given is to be preferred, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel] This is a Verse 22. The strength of a unicorn.] DX7 reem difficult passage ; for if we take the words as spoken and D'x4 reim. It is generally allowed that there is of the people Israel, as their iniquity and their per- no such beast in nature as the unicorn ; i. e., a creaverseness were almost unparalleled, such words cannot ture of the horse kind, with one long rich curled horn be spoken of them with strict truth. If we consider in the forehead. The creature painted from fancy is them as spoken of the patriarch Jacob and Israel, or represented as one of the supporters of the royal arms of Jacob after he became Israel, they are most strictly of Great Britain. It is difficult to say what kind of